It’s not as if you simply wake up one day, and your hearing is gone. Hearing loss happens gradually over time for most people, particularly when it comes to aging. Age-related hearing loss affects about one in three people in this country. Many of them are over the age of 75 before they recognize a change. Some symptoms show up earlier, though, and you may not notice there is an issue right away.
Early hearing loss has gradual and subtle signs. Recognizing them as soon as possible is essential to slow down the progression of hearing loss or other health problems related to hearing loss. You can’t recognize the signs if you don’t know what they are, though. Consider these eight barely noticeable signs that you could have hearing loss.
1. Ringing in The Ears
This is one that people tend to neglect if it doesn’t become too distracting and it’s really not that subtle. Tinnitus, the medical term for the ringing, is a typical indication of hearing loss.
The ringing can be periodic and only act up when triggered. For example, perhaps the ringing, buzzing or roaring only happens in the morning or when you are tired.
It’s essential that you don’t neglect tinnitus because it is an indication that something is going on with your body. It may be hearing loss, but it may also be a sign of high blood pressure, circulatory problems or trauma. You won’t know for sure until you see your doctor, though.
2. You Dread Talking on The Phone
It’s not hard to make excuses for phone problems like:
- I have an old phone.
- It’s a new phone, and I’m just not used to it yet.
- I dropped my phone in water or on the ground.
Think about why you dread talking on our phone. Get someone else to test the phone for you if the volume is up and you still can’t hear it. If they can hear the conversation and you can’t, your hearing is the issue.
3. These Days it Seems Like Everybody Mumbles
Recently, it’s not only the kids, but your neighbor, the news anchor, and even your spouse that have started to mumble to you. It’s hard to imagine that everyone you deal with suddenly has poor enunciation.
The most likely answer is the way you hear words is changing. One of the first signs that your hearing is changing is when talking sounds like mumbling and consonants such as “S” and “T” drop off.
Only when someone calls you out for saying “what?” a lot do you start to realize that you can’t hear conversations as well anymore. Usually, the first to recognize you have hearing loss are people close to you like coworkers or family members. If someone comments on it, pay attention.
5. Some People You Hear Fine But Others Not so Much
Perhaps when you are having a conversation with the neighbor everything sounds fine but when his wife joins in you can’t make out a word. You can have sensorineural hearing loss, or damage to the nerves that send electrical signals to the brain, and this is a normal symptom.
Her voice is a higher pitch, and that’s why it isn’t as clear. You might have the same problem with your grandchild or daughter. Even when you are in common situations, something as simple as trying to hear the sound of an alarm clock ar a microwave can make things complicated. Those sounds are high pitched, as well.
6. Going Out Isn’t as Much Fun as it Used to be
Even worse are the people who actually mumble. Also, it’s much harder to understand what people are saying when you are in a noisy place. It becomes impossible to hear anything when you are at dinner and people start talking around you or the AC pops on.
7. You Never Used to Feel so Tired
Battling to comprehend words is tiring. Your brain has to work overtime to manage what it does hear, so you are more tired than usual. You may even notice changes in your other senses. If your brain is using 110 percent of its time and energy to understand words, what’s left for your eyesight or balance? It’s time to have your ears checked if your eye examination came back normal.
8. That Dang TV
It is easy to blame the TV or the service provider when you have to keep cranking up the volume, but if this is going on all the time, perhaps it’s time for a hearing exam. When you have loss of hearing it can be difficult to hear dialog. For example, when the background music is playing, it makes everything sound confusing. What about the other stuff in the room like the AC or the ceiling fan? Your hearing is most likely starting to fail if you need to keep turning up the volume.
A professional hearing test will tell you for certain and that’s the good news. If you find out your hearing is declining, hearing aids can get things back to normal.